A German sports magazine has claimed that Bundesliga players, including a full German international, were involved in the illegal mafia betting scandal that is threatening Germany's World Cup.
An unidentified German international star is allegedly involved in the illegal betting scandal
The jailing of disgraced referee Robert Hoyzer in November was supposed to bring an end to the match-fixing scandal that rocked German soccer but a report on Wednesday claims Hoyzer was just the tip of the iceberg.
Plusminus, an online sports magazine for the respected German television channel ARD, claims Bundesliga players, including a full German international, were also involved in illegal mafia betting.
"Surely a German international must earn enough money to do without getting mixed up in a betting venture of this nature," said Franz Beckenbauer, head of the 2006 World Cup Organizing Committee. "Nevertheless the allegations make it difficult for us and certainly come at a bad time."
Plusminus cited an insider as their source and prosecutors in Munich confirmed they had opened an investigation on the basis of the evidence provided.
"It is too early to accuse an individual player and we do not want to comment on any names," Anton Winkler, head prosecutor for the Munich court, told television channel N24. "We have information that needs to be followed up and more needs to be collected before any action is taken."
New scandal reopens wounds from Hoyzer affair
If the allegations are confirmed it could rock German soccer once again just three months before they host this summer's World Cup.
Robert Hoyzer was found guilty in November last year
In January 2005, referee Hoyzer, 26, blew the lid on a match-fixing scandal when he admitted to fixing four matches for financial gain.
The tainted official had been taking bribes from a Croatian mafia circle based in Berlin and he named and shamed others involved in the match rigging.
In November, Hoyzer was sentenced to two years and five months in jail and another former referee, Dominik Marks was given an 18-month suspended sentence.
Berlin-based Croat Ante Sapina was found guilty of masterminding the match-fixing operation and sentenced to two years and 11 months in prison.
The trio were thought to be the big fish in the match-fixing scandal - which had concerned lower division matches and cup ties but if the ARD report is true, the Bundesliga is also involved and the German Soccer Federation (DFB) faces a major headache ahead of the World Cup finals.